Most travellers go to Hong Kong for one reason: the food.
Ernest Hemingway may have famously called Paris a “moveable feast”, but Hong Kong is no less deserving of the title, with legendary street food stalwarts Sun Hang Yuen and Hop Yik Tai standing proudly alongside trendy new upstarts like Lee Lo Mei and 10 Shanghai.
But the best eats in Hong Kong are scattered all over the city’s various islands. To truly sample the best that the city has to offer, it would take weeks — maybe even months, or for the especially dedicated, years.
Leave it to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to save hungry foodies the trouble of seeking them out. From Oct 25 to 28, the 10th Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival gathers some of the best foods from all over Hong Kong in one place, in a celebration of culinary excellence.
Here are 10 reasons you should not miss the 10th edition of this four-day feasting festival.
1. Over 450 booths to eat and drink at
The Wine & Dine Festival has always had a staggeringly huge selection of food and drink to choose from — not just the best that Hong Kong has to offer, but also the world.
But this year’s iteration will be its largest showing yet, with over 450 booths stretching all the way from the Central Harbourfront Event Space to Tamar Park, covering the greater part of the waterfront — a 20 per cent expansion in size from last year’s festival.
Visit the Hotel Delicious zone to try signature dishes from 10 of Hong Kong’s most renowned hotels, or take a world tour at FeedMe Lane, which showcases 18 restaurants from all over the world.
2. A 10-Michelin-starred dinner? How is that even possible?
You may have had a meal at a one-Michelin-starred restaurant before — maybe even a two-starred one, or if you’re among the most dedicated of foodies, a legendary three-starred restaurant like T’ang Court or Lung King Heen.
But a 10-Michelin-starred dinner? At this year’s Wine & Dine Festival, you’ll be able to do just that. For the first time ever, the festival brings together five Michelin-starred chefs from overseas to present a 10-Michelin-starred dinner in the Tasting Room.
These five chefs, who have been collectively awarded eight Michelin stars, will collaborate with chefs from one-Michelin-starred restaurants Man Wah and Mandarin Grill + Bar to create an eight-course wine pairing banquet that brings together the best of Chinese, Thai and French cuisine.
The French influence comes from Pierre Gagnaire of Pierre, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Hong Kong, while Chef Bee Satongun of one-Michelin-starred Paste Bangkok brings the fiery spice of Thailand’s cuisine.
The other three visiting chefs are three of the world’s foremost experts in Chinese cuisine: Chef Lin Cheng Ching, Chinese executive chef of the two-Michelin-starred The Guest House in Taiwan; Chef George Chen of the one-Michelin-starred Wujie in The Bund in Shanghai; and Chef Kentaro Chen, executive chef of the two-Michelin-starred Shisen Hanten.
As this event runs for one night only, from 7pm to 10pm on Oct 27, you will want to get your tickets early. Tickets will be available for pre-order online from Oct 3 onwards.
3. Exclusive “Wine & Dine 10th Edition Specials”
A 10th birthday only comes once in a lifetime. To commemorate this exclusive event, HKTB is introducing two Wine & Dine 10th Edition Special drinks.
The first is the Favilla Fuji cocktail, a delightfully rich mixture of Baileys Chocolat Luxe and junmaishu nigori sake. The other is the Happy 啤 Day, a chocolate imperial stout aged in bourbon and and brandy barrels.
Not a fan of beer? Have no fear. Take a trip down memory lane with the 2009 Vintage series of wines. This commemorative series, which includes legends like the Chateau Lascombes 2009, dates back to the founding year of the Wine & Dine Festival, and includes selections from Robert Parker’s 100-Point red wines — the most critically acclaimed wines in the world.
4. Wines from all over the world
The wining does not stop there: this year, you have more wine options than last year. There are six different alcohol-specific zones, including the Bubbly and Cocktail Zone for all your champagne needs, the Japanese Wine Zone for all the sake you could ever want, and the Grand Wine Pavilion, featuring wines hand-picked by world-famous wine critic James Suckling.
Plus, for the first time this year, chateaus from regions and countries like Burgundy, Croatia and Russia will be participating in the festival, so drop by the Country/Region Pavilion to sample the offerings.
5. Pair food and wine for a Perfect 10
We have covered the “wine” part of the festival and the “dine” part of the festival, but what about the “and”?
Wine can most certainly be enjoyed on its own, but pairing it with food makes for an even better experience. HKTB is introducing the Perfect 10 Passport this year, to encourage visitors to try out different combinations of food and wine.
The Perfect 10 Passport grants users 20 wine tokens, 10 food tokens, a single-use access to the Grand Lounge with a complimentary welcome drink, free entrance to the Grand Wine Pavilion and a 10th edition commemorative Lucaris wine glass.
6. The best street food the world has to offer
As anyone who has been to Hong Kong can attest, the best food isn’t necessarily found in high-ceilinged dining rooms with starched white tablecloths. Just as often, Hong Kong’s finest eats can be found in crowded cha chaan tengs or roadside dai pai dongs.
HKTB is well aware of this — which is why street food has always been an integral part of the Festival. But this year takes it a step further with the introduction of the International Street Eats zone.
The zone will feature hawkers from seven different regions, including the likes of Taiwan’s Jiu-Wu Beef Noodles, Germany’s Bayern Gourmet, Kelly’s Cape Bop from Korea, and even Picada, the world-famous street vendor from Peru.
And just in case you ever get a craving for good old Singaporean food, one of the featured hawkers happens to be Singapore’s very own Tian Tian Chicken Rice.
7. Trade your yuan yang for a macchiato
Hong Kong is not often thought of as one of the coffee capitals of the world. Usually, cities like Melbourne or Seattle receive all the attention. But with the 10th Wine & Dine Festival, this is about to change.
For this year’s Festival, HKTB is gathering the city’s best baristas in the Coffee Fiesta Zone. Look forward to the java from Coco Espresso, Appendix Coffee & Bar and Knockbox Coffee Company — three of the hottest cafés in Hong Kong.
No coffee is complete without some sweets to accompany it. Traipse over to the celebrity dessert shop Alice Wild Luscious for some traditional cookies, or grab a fresh Midnight Croissant from the booth run by award-winning Say Hey Bakery just next door.
8. Your visit could end up paying for itself
The 10th birthday of the Wine & Dine Festival 2018 promises an amazing four days of festivities, with live music from independent musicians and buskers, as well as live performances each evening on the main stage.
But every birthday party needs gifts and games, and HKTB delivers both in spades. Visitors can play games to win prizes like air tickets, wines, gourmet food and wine tokens, with more than HKD $1 million ($175,200) in prizes up for grabs.
9. No cash? No problem
In a city as advanced as Hong Kong, it goes without saying that cashless payment is the norm. Forget fumbling with coins and crumpled notes — at the festival, you’ll be able to pay by credit card, mobile app or even electronic purse.
10. Travelling with Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines? Enjoy freebies
Face it: it is a universal truth that Singaporeans love free stuff. It is an indispensable part of our national identity.
And that is why Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific are capitalising on this tendency. All Singaporeans travelling to Hong Kong with these two airlines are eligible to receive a special pass that grants complimentary entry, four wine tokens, two food tokens, and a commemorative 10th anniversary limited edition wine glass.
If you were on the fence about going for the festival, this could be just the ticket — literally — to get you scrambling to pack your bags.